England 0-4 Hungary: Three Lions embarrassed as relegation looms
England are in real danger of suffering Nations League relegation after they succumbed to an abysmal 4-0 defeat at home to a ruthless Hungary on Tuesday.
Gareth Southgate's side had been underwhelming in each of their first three matches, but they were somehow even worse for the visit of Hungary, who completed an incredible double over the Three Lions.
An early defensive error gifted Hungary the lead as Roland Sallai duly punished the hosts, and although England unsurprisingly saw more of the ball, the recent theme of attacking ineffectiveness continued.
The Three Lions hardly troubled Hungary goalkeeper Denes Dibusz at all before Sallai got his second 20 minutes from time at Molineux.
It then got even uglier for England, as Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Gazdag scored either side of John Stones' red card to inflict the Three Lions' worst home defeat since 1928.
Despite England enjoying a positive start, they found themselves trailing in the 16th minute as Stones inadvertently headed back into the danger area and Sallai was on hand to smash past Aaron Ramsdale.
The hosts appeared to up the ante after the break, but it was not a precursor to a marked improvement.
The game was put beyond them with 70 minutes on the clock, as Martin Adam pounced on a Kalvin Phillips mistake before feeding Sallai, who shot through Ramsdale's legs.
And things got worse still.
Harry Kane's header hit the crossbar, and soon after it was 3-0, as Nagy slammed in from 25 yards.
England's misery was compounded by a harsh second yellow card for Stones after an off-the-ball collision, and Hungary completed their humiliation thanks to a cheeky chip by Gazdag.
What does it mean? England humiliated… and it could still get worse
"You don't know what you're doing! You don't know what you're doing!" – Not our words, the words of a huge number of England fans at Molineux.
Southgate has been a very popular figure during his time as England manager, but he is now in the throes of a crisis for the first time – England only have two matches between now and the World Cup. That is not much time to put things right.
Of course, perhaps the fact this has been such a busy schedule at the end of a long season has contributed to England's woes. But if that is the case then Southgate will have to inspire a massive improvement in September.
Sallai the instigator
There were several impressive operators in the Hungary team here, but it is difficult to look past Sallai as the standout given how clinical he was, scoring twice from two shots. But he also worked tirelessly off the ball with three tackles and two interceptions, both of which saw him rank third in his team.
Saka and Bowen struggle for an impact
To be fair, there were few England players who stood out in a positive sense, but Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen were especially disappointing.
Saka did not manage a single key pass, while Bowen recorded just one before he was hauled off at half-time, with his end product particularly frustrating when wasting an opportunity to feed Kane on the break.
Bowen is the first player not to end up on the winning side in any of his first four England appearances (D2 L2) since Ledley King between 2002 and 2004 (also D2 L2).
Key Opta Stats:
- Hungary have become only the second team to beat Gareth Southgate's England in consecutive matches, along with Belgium in June-July 2018.
- They also became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.
- This was England's first defeat by 4+ goals since May 1964, when they lost 5-1 to Brazil in a friendly.
- It was only the second time England have lost by four or more goals without scoring, along with a 5-0 defeat to Yugoslavia in May 1958, and the first time ever on home soil.
- Sallai is only the second player to have scored as many as three goals against England this century, along with Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (five).
England go to Italy on September 23 knowing that a defeat will confirm their relegation from the top tier of the Nations League. Hungary, who are top, face second-placed Germany the same day.